A group of us went to Sakura Japanese Restaurant in Seville this past Saturday. Located on the Avenida San Francisco Javier it is only blocks from the Nervion Plaza Mall and Real Soccer Stadium and very easy to get to from Moron de la Frontera.
Some of our friends had been here before and weren’t overly thrilled with it but were willing to go again. I was craving sushi and suggested we take the 30 minute trip to Seville for something different. We arrived a little after 8:00 PM and were the only ones in the restaurant, as the Spanish don’t eat dinner until between 10:00 and 11:00 PM. When we arrived the staff was seated at a round table eating their dinner and they didn’t seem too pleased to have to interrupt their dinner for guests. Our drink orders were taken promptly and there was English as well as Spanish on their quite extensive menu. Beers, soft drinks and bottled water were reasonably priced at about €1,60 each. A dozen appetizer choices, as well as soups and salads were our first stop. Our group sampled the gyoza (fried dumplings filled with ground pork), cold tofu, and fried tofu. The 5 small gyoza were served hot and tasty with a dipping sauce and the cold and fried tofu were served exactly the same, in a bowl of salty Asian broth sprinkled with tuna flakes. The tofu was pretty bland and not worth the €4 we paid but the gyoza were a tasty starter.
The rest of the menu consisted of about a dozen variations on sushi rolls, fried rices, tempuras, Teppan-yaki or main dishes and various kushiyaki or pinchitos, as the Spanish call them. Pinchitos are just skewers of meat or fish grilled and served hot. I had the California Roll which was delicious, although the Cali roll is hard to mess up. We also sampled the vegetable and shrimp tempura which was served crisply fried in a small basket. Joe and a friend ordered the Entrecot Teppan-Yaki which they thought was going to be a teriyaki steak and were sadly disappointed when they were delivered a tiny 4 oz. leather-tough fillet cut in 5 slices and drenched in teriyaki sauce. Paying €14,50 (almost $25) for their pathetic steaks definitely put a damper on their experience. Another friend ordered the teriyaki chicken and much to his dismay was also given a tiny portion for a whopping €9,80.
All was not lost at Sakura. The fried rice was tasty and served with numerous medium sized shrimp. The white rice was actually Jasmine rice and not the basmati rice the Spanish typically use in their cooking. The hit of the night was the Kushiyaki Mixto or Pinchitos Variados, a large platter of mixed grilled meats and fish. At €12, this hot platter of 8 – 10 skewers was a deal. The tuna rolls were also tasty but it’s important to note that the fish used at Sakura is frozen and not brought in fresh. Despite this fact, the guests who ordered sushi ended up ordering a second roll halfway through dinner.
Everything at Sakura is a la carte and the portions are small, except for the Kushiyaki Mixto. If you come with an appetite order at least 3 – 4 dishes or you will end up down the street at Cafe de las Indias for ice cream, like we did.
The service was attentive, even as the restaurant was starting to fill up. The food came out hot and the waiter was patient with our limited Spanish. They even made sure to accommodate a friend with an allergy to seafood by preparing her food separate from those of us ordering seafood entrees. If we go back to Sakura in the future we know what to order and what not to order. Grade: B-/C+